President Obama, Human Trafficking and the Catholic Church

President Obama, Human Trafficking and the Catholic Church September 26, 2012

I first heard about the attempts to force Catholic shelters for trafficking victims to refer these women for abortions when I was sitting on the floor of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. It was one of those moments when I just saw red.

I had the article I was reading copied and took it across the chamber to one of my friends on the Republican side. “Can you believe this?” I said as I laid it on her desk.

It’s interesting that I did not feel there was anyone on my side — the Democratic  side — of the chamber who would share or even understand my outrage. I don’t even have any Democratic friends who feel as I do.

I keep pushing Republicans who read this blog to get their party to “walk their talk” concerning life issues, and I mean it. Republicans are not walking their talk and that has to change.

But I also know that the other side of the stalemate we’re experiencing is that the Democrats are walking their talk. They are pushing abortion from every possible platform they can find. And they are doing the same in their attack on the Catholic Church.

I published a post Monday, Stop Slogan Voting. Stop Hate-Voting. Stop Being Manipulated. Part 5. Women’s Health = Slogan Voting that goes into this in more detail. I apologize if I bring you down with this stuff, but it’s so important for people to understand.

For today, I will just say that I think the criticisms Congressman Lankford levels against the Obama administration’s policy concerning the Catholic Church generally and this issue in particular are spot-on.

Congressman Lankford, who is a Southern Baptist, and I both spoke in opposition to the HHS Mandate at the Rally for Religious Freedom in Oklahoma City last June.

If I remember correctly, I was the only Democratic office-holder who was there.

This article containing Congressman Lankfords comments reads in part:

Congressman questions Obama’s commitment to
fight human trafficking
By Michelle Bauman
Obama speaks at the United Nations Sept. 25, 2012. Credit: UN Photo, Jennifer S. Altman.

.- New efforts announced by President Barack Obama to fight human trafficking have renewed criticism of his administration for preventing a highly effective Catholic group from receiving funds to aid victims.

In a Sept. 25 speech at the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City, Obama praised the work of those who have “decided that their conscience compels them to act in the face of injustice.”

He pointed to his Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships in working to fight human trafficking and mentioned the Catholic Church as a faith community that is “truly doing the Lord’s work” in its anti-trafficking efforts.

Obama announced a new executive order to prevent human trafficking through new regulations for U.S. contractors and subcontractors, including a prohibition on trafficking-related practices such as charging recruitment fees.

Large contract holders will be required to implement awareness and compliance programs, and a process will be created to identify industries with a problematic history.

The order also requires additional “guidance and training” for those responsible for enforcing the new measures.

The announcement, however, drew criticism from Representative James Lankford (R-Okla.), who said that the president has put his own political gain before the good of trafficking victims.

While he says that he “wants to promote awareness of human trafficking,” Obama has a “record of removing the experts at providing these services,” Lankford charged in a statement responding to the president’s speech.

He pointed to the administration’s decision last year not to renew a grant with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services to aid human trafficking victims.

An independent review board gave the bishops’ group superior ratings for their work over several years. However, the group was passed over for a grant renewal, and the funds were instead given to an organization with a significantly lower score.

The decision came after new guidelines for grant applicants indicated that “strong preference” will be given to organizations that offer referrals for the “full range of legally permissible gynecological and obstetric care.”

Critics contended that the administration was putting the promotion of abortion before the needs of trafficking victims.

The bishops’ group “was not eligible for assisting victims of human trafficking solely because they would not encourage victims of abuse to seek an abortion or contraceptive drugs,” Lankford said. (Read more here.)


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